Posts Tagged ‘snow’

February is like that one piece of clothing you have that on the hanger looks great and you can’t wait to wear it, but when you do put it on, it pulls funny in the armpit or is a little too short in the leg and makes you fidget all day, or the color doesn’t actually match anything else you have, or there’s a stain in a most embarrassing location that you forgot about and didn’t notice until you left the house. So you sigh wistfully as you put it back in your closet and hope that next year maybe it’ll magically be perfect. It never will be though and should be cut up and made into something crafty like a bow tie for your snowman or a remote control cozy instead. Apologies to all my friends and family born in February, but I can’t stand this month. It’s short, which should be a plus, but it feels longer than all of summer put together. I say we break it up and distribute those days to the months that need it. Like May, August, September and December. Who’s with me?!

Like clockwork, around the middle of February, my self-diagnosed seasonal affective disorder reaches it apex and everything catches up with me until I consider making sacrifices to whatever higher being will turn me into a real bear and let me hibernate. Where are those Disney Animators when you need them?! So between the distinct lack of division of labor in my house, the constant cold weather and still early dark, on top of a couple of freelance projects running simultaneously, I pretty much retreated to my room avoiding everything that could be avoided without tragic consequences and mentally scrambled to figure out where my priorities ran off to. For those of you who know me personally, you’ll understand what place I was in when you see my work area for the week.

I’m not a messy person at all. I’m pretty much the opposite bordering on OCD. Ask my kids. I don’t function well in messes and it makes me itch to have piles and stuff in the way. I know plenty of people who are pretty happy and do well in their jobs surrounded by chaos. I’m not one of them… although as a kid I loved a good mess and was quite content to wallow in my room where no one could see my floor (which given it was green and white linoleum with a maroonish carpet remnant over part of it, no one was missing out either). Not any more though. I might be related to the Anal Retentive Chef, in fact. So that picture up there of my “desk” is a clear indicator of just how scattered and out of balance I was the last week. The rest of the house (minus the kid’s rooms which mimic flea markets on crack) wasn’t that bad, thankfully—it was neat enough, but covered with a fine layer of dust, dog hair, Monkey’s favorite “crabby patty” cracker crumbs, and ice melt from the front walk. Normally, since Monkey is allergic to the universe, I clean the house top to bottom every week to keep him comfortable and me sane, but even that fell apart. The universe became an icky place.

Some light snow covered up the outside ick for a day or two, and given how unusually little snow we’ve had this season, the first thing I did was crawl out of my head and put some snowshoes on Monkey and me and escaped for a little while before he had to leave for the afternoon. Monkey required we go visit the two closest pine trees in the field behind us to give them a hug. I guess they looked cold and lonely.

Then we wandered out a little farther toward the wood line where Monkey picked out a different tree for cutting down (lest you think he is an actual tree hugger).

He, at least, has some balance to him. He made snow angels and I made a little snowman and then it was time to head back into the House of Yuck.

Being out in the clean, pristine, blank paper-like snow gave my brain the kick-start it needed to move out of my mental rut.

When things get off-kilter for me like that, I tend to mentally stand still like the proverbial deer in the headlights trying to figure out what to do next. But instead of fright or flight, I eventually experience purge or rearrange. Takes me a couple of days to get there, but inevitably a mock spring cleaning is what breaks me out of this. Normally K is around to humor me and help me lift heavy objects, but, this time, I not only don’t have the manual labor at my disposal, but I’m debating how much I should do. It’s still early in the deployment and I get this way pretty regularly. I had told K that I wouldn’t do too much changing of things around the house (even though he and I are both notorious for moving the furniture around quarterly) because I always felt sort of bad for the soldiers who would come home with a certain picture in their minds of home and walk into something significantly different. I can warn him and send pictures, but it’s different than being part of the process. So, what and how much to do and where to start?

R’s room is safest because K doesn’t go in there much anyway, so it won’t be so shocking to redo, and is probably most in need of change because her furniture is really for younger kids and not helping her keep things mostly in order (as required by her evil mother overlord). I know she’s young and her genes are fulfilling their sloppy kid destiny, but I don’t see how giving her the right tools to self-organize can be a bad thing. She needs a new desk, a bookcase, mirror, and either under bed or some other storage. I’ve already hit a couple of thrift stores in the area with no success, but will have to go back again and visit a couple more as well as a local antique store I’ve been wanting to poke around in. I want to keep the cost down of course, but I’d like her to have some interesting pieces that reflect what an interesting kid she is. She has some wacky taste far afield from my own, but I figure if we start with conservative pieces and the potential for embellishments, that should work for both of us.

Of course, it is almost impossible to change one room without starting a chain reaction or three. I could simply and cheaply repurpose furniture we already have throughout the house into hers and the furniture she’s not using can go elsewhere. I can start with my desk that is currently in our living room and give her that. I’m not using it much these days and it’s a good size that can hold storage drawers under it. Plus, I can repaint it whatever crazy-ass colors she wants. Moving that desk would leave a gaping hole at one end of our living room though. Unfortunately, that particular part of the room is sort of odd. It’s like the one kid who is always at the party but not really participating but watching what everyone else is doing. We’ve tried to give it various uses–reading area, work/arts area, books only area–nothing really seems to mesh with the rest of the room. I just can’t come up with the right combination. Our living room is huge but the bulk of the furniture centers around the fireplace. This extra area is kind of dead space with a couple of bookcases, my desk, and two doorways that break it up effectively into a corner, but where it is part of the living area, I want it to fit in better. I just don’t know what to do with it. I do know that I can’t work well there because it’s too close to the kitchen and I tend to snack when I get stuck or bored.

If I give R my desk, that means I have to move my work and art supplies somewhere—more than likely that means the Harry Potter-sized closet under the stairs where we keep the cleaning things and miscellaneous Other Stuff (like the Nerf machine guns). I’ve thought about converting that walk-in closet into an office, actually, but I’m not there quite yet (I mean, if a small, fictional boy can sleep in a closet, I can certainly work in one). Either way, if I ditch my living room work space, I’m going to have to reorganize the closet to fit all my office paraphernalia which means more shuffling and/or money spending. Where I prefer to work is in my bedroom. There’s a little alcove in it that you can’t see when you walk into the room and it’s the perfect place to hide out and not be in the middle of crazy kids. My room is sunny, warm, has a beautiful view of the back yard, and is down a hall from the other rooms upstairs. It’s my favorite place in the house. Problem is that it is small (smallest bedroom in the house). It’s got a queen bed, long bureau, two night stands, two dog beds (which I refuse to relocate, so don’t even bother suggesting that as an option), an arm chair and a small two-shelf book case. No room at the inn for a desk or anything else. At this point, I’ve gone from having a home office to actively looking into downsizing to a lap desk. It beats the card table and cookie cooling rack I’ve been using recently. Ah…so many decisions, so much online purchasing research!

What would be ideal is if K were here to either talk me down and point out that what I really need to be doing is working and not mentally playing move the space with our furnishings, or grab an end of the desk and help me move some shit around. Either would be fine. No one else is vested in my decorative maneuverings and I cannot trust the opinion of a 9-year-old girl with visions of shiny new(ish) items to call her own(ish). Today, though, life is not ideal, and like other women in my situation, the decision is ultimately mine to make and execute and hope that my changes will work for K too when he comes home. I could use less February, some more snow for my snow shoes, a babysitter, and a notebook, but I’ll take a good night’s sleep, a shower, some completed freelance work, and an afternoon field trip to see movie props from my favorite former closet-dweller and wizard extraordinaire, Harry Potter. Some distance and a little magic should ultimately do the trick.

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Thanks to everyone who voted and provided me with feedback. I really do appreciate it and will take it into consideration as I move forward. Like I said, I generally have plenty to say, but sitting down to say it and/or picking what to say can be a challenge. Your opinions help. I spoke with K and he’s going to give me some links to good resources about what’s going on overseas (the ones we are allowed to see anyway) and he said he will try to check in here and comment with updates as he can. That, of course, will depend on how often he’ll be able to get online. There will be times his updates will come from me based on our emails during the week if he doesn’t have a chance to write. I’m sure we’ll figure out something a little more regular once he’s there and in a communication groove.

Life for the kids and me has been pretty good the last couple of weeks. We are almost into a regular routine. R and I had a mini board meeting last night (she’s my VP of Operations after all) to talk about responsibilities, allowance, helping out with Monkey so I can write once a week, and our twice-a-month girl’s night out. I spend plenty of one-on-one time with Monkey because he’s home with me half a day every day, but R doesn’t get much if any time alone with me, so I hired a sitter to come and hang with the boy which will now allow me to watch R during her sparring class and then take her to dinner and either the book store or the ceramic painting place. We are both looking forward to it quite a bit. R was a 3-year-old heartbroken maniac last deployment and our relationship was not the best (that’s an understatement). Thankfully, she’s of that age now where I can reason with her to get her to do most things, but by letting her help out more (she can make herself a fried egg sandwich all by herself and frequently does!) and making the time to be alone with her I think we will be more allies than adversaries. It has always been a top priority of mine for this deployment to make us closer, not drive us apart like last time.

Positive reinforcement is the phrase of the week for both kids. I’m working with Monkey’s team (his teacher, behavior specialist, and occupational & speech therapists) to come up with a reward system that bridges home and school. It is no easy task and I’m still thinking about how I’m going to put it all together here. He’s not ready for an allowance, but he loves tv, toys, and going places, so that’s my currency. Keeping him away from the tv until he earns the time is an uphill struggle, but thanks to a suggestion by his behavior specialist, a rice (and bean) bucket full of small plastic animals, wooden and crystal gem shapes, magnetic numbers, and little letter beads is now hours of fun (and clean up). He and R both will spend about an hour or more playing with everything in there as you can see…

R & Monkey playing in the rice bucket

Look at all that stuff to find!

The neat-freak in me is a little on edge at the thought of 15 pounds of rice ending up all over the place (whether in small increments or catastrophic deluge), but given how much he likes playing with it and how it’s not tv, I’m ignoring my inner Felix Unger for the moment and teaching Monkey how to vacuum. We are going to use a token system where he earns tokens at school for doing his work and he brings them home. From there, I get to figure out how big a deal to make (he loves praise and to make me smile) and what kind of reward to give him. I’m sure I’ll have this worked out before the week is over and hopefully it will facilitate him making even more progress.

With all the work going into a reward system for the kids, I’ve been contemplating using one myself to help meet my goals (writing, work, and weight-loss). Self-motivation and reinforcement has never been my strong suit, but it’s not too late to change that. I’ve got plenty of practice and knowledge of positive reinforcement training from my time working with dogs. I know it works and the results are long-lasting. So today, I’m going to think about what rewards I’d work hard for and what I’m going to have to do to earn them. I’ve already put together my writing schedule, my workout plan, my menu options, and figured out where my freelance work hours generally fit in. I’ve now worked out enough that I actually look forward to doing it and can pick it back up after missing it for a couple days. I can’t say that I’ve seen any physical results, but the habit is there and the dislike of exercise is fading. I guess that’s a good enough result for the moment. Hopefully if I can create and maintain the positive reinforcement, I’ll start to see changes that are more acceptable to me and my goals will start falling into place.

We’ve definitely had more hits than misses recently, although the missing has certainly begun. K and I missed our anniversary last week and we’ll be missing K’s birthday next week. The kids are starting to miss him out loud now, too. Monkey doesn’t usually say much when K travels (he spends 85% of his time with just me normally anyway), but the last few days he’s mentioned to all of us that he misses his Daddy. He did get some webcam time with K a couple of days ago, which is great, but I think it makes them both sad. R, on the other hand, loves webcamming and it doesn’t make her sad at all. I’m sure the novelty will wear off at some point, but right now, being able to email and chat with K on her own terms helps her with the missing part. Monkey just isn’t at that level and requires others to help him communicate with K. I am glad Monkey says anything at all because I’ve been unsure how he was going to deal with all this. His language is so far behind, that he’s not always able to get across what he’s feeling, but he’s getting there and him telling me he misses K is a huge improvement and it’s better than him acting out which is pretty typical of military kids during deployments.

K also missed the first really good snow of the season last week–the kind you can make snowmen out of. After I finished shoveling and the kids wrapped up sledding down the snow piles left from the plow guy, we got together and made a snowman on the front lawn. They each wanted something different (Monkey wanted a Frosty and R wanted to make K), so they each took a half and decorated. It worked out better than I thought it would and we all had fun doing it. It was just getting dark when we finished, but we were all amused with our Frosty Dad.

Frosty side

Daddy side

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Welcome back, readers! Thanks for bearing with my absence. The Army decided to make me play “shift the space” with our holiday plans at the last minute, so I was scrambling to have our Christmas preparations done a few days earlier than planned. As soon as K got home we visited family for a couple of days, and by the time we got back and got settled into K’s last leave, I was just exhausted and needed some real down time and not just the pretend kind. But I’m back (with a vengeance!) and planning on catching up as much as I can.

Yesterday marked the first day of our “deployed” status. Or as I will call it here, “Part 2a” (2b starts when K leaves the country). Yesterday was also the day that we have been preparing and waiting for practically since the end of his last deployment. All the major changes we made in our lives for the last few years have been made to accommodate this single and long-lasting event. At 9 in the morning—in spite of the snow storm moving through our neck of the woods—K got on a plane to head back to his pre-mobilization station for another couple months of training before he ships out overseas. We won’t see him again until he either comes home on leave sometime mid-way through the deployment, or when he gets home at the end of the deployment. So, probably 4-6 months at the earliest and 11 months at the latest. Since we have little kids I’m guessing time will speed along faster than I expect just like always.

It’s hard to describe everything I felt yesterday without a twinge of guilt. For comparison’s sake, and as I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, when K left last deployment, I was more than a wreck. I’m not sure how much of that had to do with post-partum hormonal shenanigans and the tension brought on by caring for a preemie baby, but I worked myself up into such a state of anxiousness and worst-case scenario contemplation, I made myself physically ill. That, in turn, added a layer of shame and self-loathing for letting my emotions get the better of me, which then set off a frenzied undercurrent of self-doubt that I wouldn’t be able to handle everything. It has taken me a very long time to make peace with that particular feeling as it stuck with me like a barnacle for years. None of those early feelings were the best way to start a major life change, that’s for sure. In hind-sight, I couldn’t help but set myself up for failure (at least on my own terms—milage may vary with someone else’s perspective on my situation) given my complete lack of understanding of what a deployment entailed.

Our parting of the ways was so different this time. There were no tears, no drama (other than the fact that the snow plow guy showed up to clear the driveway just as our friend V came to take K to the airport causing a flurry of activity that cut into our last bit of quiet time together), no sadness, no worries, and best of all no vomiting. We made a couple of jokes, wished each other a good (safe) year, and I told K that I wanted us to find something positive in all this to make our separation worthwhile this time (and I mean to do just that). If I had to pick the major emotion of the day, I think we both felt relief that this whole thing was finally underway. Not only that, and I almost hate to say it, but I felt good. Confident and able. I’m ready. I wouldn’t say I’m excited exactly, but there are many things I’m really looking forward to this year (which I’ll share at a later date) that may not have come about if K were home. And I think K probably feels the same way about his new responsibilities for the coming year. While going to a dangerous place, he is also getting the opportunity to do some new things that really interest and excite him that he would not have been able to do had he stayed. I am also incredibly grateful that the back and forth is ending. We can get into a regular routine that won’t be interrupted every few weeks. And with the holidays over, I feel downright giddy at the prospect of some kind of new normal.

As much as I really disliked the coming and going of the last few months, I will admit that it probably helped the kids get used to K leaving as well as being gone. R was able to give him a hug and a kiss good-bye without crying either, and Monkey just murmured in his sleep. I’m sure they don’t quite grasp just how long he’ll be gone, and they will probably get hit later with missing K, but they were both great about everything. I took them to see The Princess and the Frog in the morning, and then we spent part of the afternoon outside playing in the snow (I shoveled and took pictures and they played). I got a few things done around the house, we had dinner together, and we hung out just like always when K is away. I purposely didn’t make a big deal out of our new change in status and the day passed quietly and with a few laughs even. I could not have hoped for better.

If I wish anything for us this coming year, it’s that I gain enough inner peace to compensate for the simmering anger I normally haul around, and that the kids stay as happy all year long as they were playing in the snow yesterday.

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Christmas makes me feel like the Wizard of Oz. I get to be the (wo)man behind the curtain orchestrating the gifts and making sure the munchkins don’t stick lollipops in each other’s hair while I turn everything green. I suspect, though, that I am busier at Christmas time than the Wizard is running Oz. I would love to complain that with K away I have more to do, but I’ve always been the one doing the majority of Christmas planning and executing (and there are years I wish I could execute Christmas!), so this year is not all that different. The only thing I’ve added to the to do is list is kid wrangling which just means things take a little longer.

Since K was leaving early in December, we decided to knock out some of the things we would normally do later so he could be here. First on the list was decorate the tree, of course. It wasn’t just K wanting to participate that drove us to decorate a little early. Nope, it was Monkey who had been talking about Santa and Christmas trees since before Thanksgiving. He could not be denied any longer. I was actually beginning to worry that if we didn’t bring the tree down from the barn (we have to have an artificial tree because of his allergies), he would and end up hurting himself. I blame Dora and her Christmas Time Adventure ads—they brainwashed the boy.

So decorate we did. I usually prep the tree before everyone decorates. Apparently I have the most patience for fixing and stringing the lights (a little secret: I actually enjoy repairing the stupid lights as long as I have enough replacement parts) which isn’t saying much. I’m usually tapped out on patience after that for at least a few months. Aside from electric circuit puzzles, my favorite thing about decorating our Christmas tree is putting up the picture ornaments. Since R was a baby, I’ve been putting together picture ornaments for the tree. I’ll pick out my favorite picture from earlier in the year and up it goes. I absolutely love to go through them and see how much the kids have changed or laugh over the sometimes very goofy pictures I’ve chosen (like Monkey sitting inside the toilet when he was first potty training). My goal someday is to have a tree that is just these pictures. We could probably do it now, but I keep getting vetoed. The other tree I want that no one else in my house wants is the lights only tree. After I put so much time into making the damn things work, I don’t want them covered with stuff. One day…

And here is our pretty traditional looking tree. Normally I do red, white, and green lights, but I couldn’t revive the red and green lights for a full compliment, so we went with white and blue. I do not like blinking, multi-colored lights. They make me feel like I’m going to have a seizure. Since K likes multi lights and I prefer white, this is our compromise.

And here is the kid’s little tree they decorate without our help at all. We put it on the dining room table so they can still rearrange it when they want. It’s pretty small and when they are done, I am reminded of modern art.

One of my favorite things about this house is that we have a working fire place with a real mantel we can hang stockings from. In our last house we had to hang them from the staircase banister which is just not the same. There are actually many things I love about Christmas time: my blue snowflake dishes, the icicle lights out on the porch, our little Santa collection, and figuring out how to keep Santa’s secret while he is still a revered figure. I enjoy making our goofy Christmas cards (traditionally I make us stick figures, or, like this year we are gingerbread cookies), and I love to make baklava to give as gifts. I often wish these things would take care of themselves, but they don’t and I do get a fair amount of satisfaction out of managing it all. I just need to hire the occasional elf.

Last year I started a new tradition with the kids by taking them to Santa’s Village up north in the mountains. Santa’s Village is actually an amusement park. Yes, I said amusement park. There are roller coasters and a ferris wheel as well as other typical outdoor rides that run all summer and through to Christmas. And I can say only people who live this far north would consider riding a ferris wheel in the freezing cold after a snow storm. And only people who live this far north would actually wear shorts to the tundra. (The guy in front of us to see Santa was wearing shorts while the rest of us were in snow suits. Dude was hardcore!) We are insane because our blood does not flow in the winter making us nearly impervious to the cold. (I wish!) The kids love it though and they get to visit with Santa and my kids are never so well-behaved as they are at Santa’s Village. Visiting the snowy playground is becoming my favorite tradition of all.

K didn’t get to go last year due to a slightly catastrophic ice storm that the Guard was called out for and that we lost power for several days (but was not catastrophic enough to stop a trip to the Village!). We lucked out this year with only minor snow and a free weekend so K could make this trip. It was one of the better family excursions we’ve taken this year.

Monkey is talking to Santa about Handy Manny tools while he waits for the obligatory candy cane.

I left the red-eye in on purpose because we like to tease our devil-child who looks so sweet (if not amazingly like Pepto) here.

K and R on the Ferris wheel.

And here is the view from the top. Almost makes the nausea and extra cold worthwhile.

R couldn’t wait to “drive” the old-fashioned cars. All I can say is I’m glad it was on a track she couldn’t hop.

And finally, the goofy face picture of the day… The little girl in the middle is cute though.

For as much work and thought that goes into Christmas preparations, I’m glad we did these things while K was still home to enjoy it too. It was the most fun we had and the least stressful between all his travel and long hours since this pre-deployment phase started. Sometimes I forget how much I like this time of year. Expectations can run too high and the workload and expense seems to grow exponentially, but these little things are the best parts. I’ve been doing my best this year to remember that these smaller things count and I don’t have to let out the humbug that lurks inside.

This year I’ve asked Santa to give me the patience to make it to next year’s visit with him. I have an inside connection and I’ve been less naughty than usual, so I think I’m in good shape. Time will tell.

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Winter Wonderland

For the record, I’m not an outside Winter person. Can’t say that I ever was either. I remember the blizzard of ’76 because it was the most snow I’d ever seen and we had several days off from school which was probably a first for me given my age at the time. The novelty of large amounts of snow wore off for me somewhere around 1977. And if not then, certainly the year I walked to school in a snowstorm and managed to hit a tree because I had my head down most of the time would have sealed the deal. I am a hibernator and will squirrel myself away and never be heard from until the apple blossoms bloom on our trees in early May if I’m not careful.

As I’ve mentioned, we now live in the North Pole (well, almost) and I was not interested in moving this far north knowing it would be colder, more inclined to snow, and less populated. Move we did though, and the day after we unloaded the trucks, we got the first of eight feet of snow that season on top of the six or so inches already there. The next winter was no better. When your 8 year-old-whines when she has another snow day, you have too much snow. After a while, I made a point to not acknowledge the white fluffy stuff falling from the sky because I didn’t want to give Mother Nature the satisfaction of knowing she’d finally gotten the better of me. Needless to say, knowing K would be gone for a whole year where about half that time is meant for hibernation, I was concerned for my mental well-being. I think in the right circumstances, I could give Jack Nicholson’s character in The Shining a run for his money.

Obviously I needed to do something(s) to turn my attitude at least 45 degrees from where it was when we got here and about 90 degrees from where it was at the end of that first winter. Appreciating the aesthetics of winters here is the most obvious step when breaking coping with winter into inside and outside components. I have to say that we live in a beautiful area and I would have been far more stubborn about moving if it weren’t for the sweet piece of property and awesome house we found. I love my back yard all year long. The first snow of the season is really stunning as are all the subsequent snow storms. It is the only saving grace to the sheer volume and inconvenience of the stuff. Let me show you how pretty it can be. Here’s the first snow from last week. It’s only a couple of inches of sticky snow, but at sunrise, it’s quite lovely.

See? Beautiful. I could look out there all day (and sometimes do thanks to my bedroom being at the back of the house!) Wish it were frostily beautiful a little less often, but I feel lucky to have that view. My old apartment in grad school overlooked a concrete shaft which was no doubt listed as a courtyard. The cockroaches and I felt that was a misnomer. I’m definitely partial to this view no matter how much snow—as long as I can see out the window, that is.

Next, to get a hold on joining winter so I wouldn’t be beaten by it again, I needed to find something to get me out of the house so I didn’t die of cabin fever. I’m not afraid of too many things, but I am terrified of blowing my knees out skiing, so I won’t consider downhill skiing, but have given some thought to cross-country, only not enough to take the plunge. What I found I really enjoyed doing is snowshoeing. I got a pair for Christmas before we moved up here and I love trucking out my back door and into those woods behind us. Beyond that clearing is a tree farm and some conservation property with a very small set of trails that I like to follow. Here are a couple of pictures from last winter’s snowshoeing escapades out back after a good size storm…

Here’s the tree farm…

Here’s one of the trails…

…and my favorite stand of pines when it snows.

Since K won’t be around for me to head out alone, we also have snowshoes for the kids so we can all go for a walk even if the snow is past Monkey’s knees. I just fitted them yesterday so they could give them a test run before the rest of the snow comes in. We got over six inches the other day, and it was nice and fluffy until the freezing rain came later that day and the temperature dropped, so now it’s just kind of treacherous even for snow shoes. I’m sure it will be covered over soon enough and then we’ll be able to play. Luckily, the kids love snowshoeing too, so I’m hoping this will help all of us be more active and take our minds off missing K some.

Winter will also be more amusing for sure thanks to my dogs, Casey (aka Jones or Jonesy) & Zoe (aka Bean). My dogs love the snow. Bean especially (I’m pretty sure it’s because she’s got 2 extra layers of fur thanks to whatever crazy Lab mix she is). As soon as the snow starts falling, she’s whining at the back door to go out in it. Much like this only with noise.

I love to watch her and Jones bound through the snow or spend a long time sniffing out the whereabouts of neighborhood creatures. Nothing escapes their attention and they chase each other all over the yard like a couple of gazelles. These days they’ve taken to bobbing for fallen apples under the powder for snack time. If you click on the picture below to look at the larger size, you can make out a red thing in Zoe’s mouth. That would be her apple. That’s Casey in front waiting to steal it from her. That is a typical snowy day for them.

While I have not warmed up completely to winters around here (and honestly, I doubt I ever will), I have latched onto parts of the season with some affection if not outright enthusiasm and I figure that’s a good place to start. I predict that looking on the bright side of winter (and I don’t mean the sun glaring off more snow) will wear out again sometime around February, but by then I’ll start thinking about spring, planning my garden and around the house projects, and hiking in the woods with the dogs and kids. In the meantime, I’ll keep learning to love the bomb, so to speak.

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